Leon described part of the government's case as "gossamer thin", saying that during the trial the Justice Department's expert witness declined to back some of the government's own theories.
Before the trial started, AT&T lawyers said the Time Warner deal may have been singled out for government enforcement but Judge Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected their bid to force the disclosure of White House communications that might have shed light on the matter.
The case has drawn attention from all sides including Sling TV's President Warren Schlichting, who testified against the merger.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon is expected to announce in court Tuesday his decision in the biggest antitrust trial in years. However, now that the AT&T deal has been approved by a federal judge, there is precedent for such a deal and Comcast believes it won't be blocked.More news: Kyrie Irving says signing contract extension with Boston Celtics doesn't make sense
It is worth remembering that the Justice Department is reviewing the T-Mobile/Sprint combination, and the Justice Department did not approve AT&T's purchase of Time Warner. Disney has a deal to buy the bulk of Fox, but Comcast is now expected to make a counterbid, especially with the favorable ruling for AT&T.
"Judge OKs AT&T merger with Time Warner, rejecting government argument it would hurt pay-TV consumers, competition".
Ahead of the court ruling, a top antitrust official at the Justice Department urged investors not to read too much into the decision to sue to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner.
AT&T and Time Warner are not competitors; their proposed merger would be a "vertical integration" of complementary companies.
AT&T argued that the merger will help customers without harming AT&T's business rivals, and that the combined company wouldn't have enough market power to raise antitrust concerns.More news: Kevin Durant says he would consider retiring at 35
Critics charged that Trump had come out against the deal because of Time Warner's CNN, which has been highly critical of his presidency. The companies' CEOs, AT&T's Randall Stephenson and Jeffrey Bewkes of Time Warner Inc., testified in support of the deal.
Leon also said it would be harmful for him to put a temporary stay on the merger while the government appeals his decision, if it does so. President Donald Trump, while still a candidate, said he would block the deal "because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few".
AT&T and Time Warner said they need to combine in order to better compete with Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG), companies that are already powerhouses in the content game.
The mega-merger is a high-stakes bet by AT&T Inc. on the synergy between companies that produce news and entertainment and those that funnel it to consumers - who spend more time watching video on phones and tablets and less time on traditional live TV on a big screen.More news: Senior US official, lawmaker in Taiwan for office dedication